Monday, February 29, 2016

 

“There are diversities of gifts… But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.” - 1 Corinthians 12:4,11 (NIV)

So many times, we ask “What is so special about me?”  We feel like there is nothing unique or interesting about ourselves, and we feel insignificant.  And if you are a Jesus follower, you certainly have thought, “I don’t know how God can use me in a big way.”  Paul, who was a “Christian killer” must have struggled with this as well.  But this same Paul, who wrote our verse for today, experienced Christ in such a way, that his life was changed forever.  Jesus took this persecutor of His people, and turned him into a man who would nurture, teach, and encourage His followers.  This same Paul, is letting Christians at Corinth know that God has uniquely gifted each one of them through His Holy Spirit...

Friday, February 26, 2016

 "Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you." ​- Ephesians 4:32 (NLT)

It’s crazy to think that Jesus was crucified on a cross and died for all of us, even the people that put Him on the cross that day. We have a hard time forgiving people we love for silly things. Christ came and died for all and He is willing to forgive all. There are people right now planning to take their own lives because no one has ever been nice to them and they have never experienced Christ’s love. First things first, be kind to everyone even when other people aren’t nice. Turn the other cheek and smile, someone needs to see the heart of Christ. Second, be willing to forgive because Christ died and rose again so you could receive forgiveness and have eternal life. How can we ever expect God to forgive us if we can’t...

Thursday, February 25, 2016

 “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!  Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!” - Psalm 32:1-2 (NLT)

Almost 17 yrs. ago, my wife and I celebrated our wedding day.  That day was filled with so much joy and excitement.  It was also a day in which I experienced the pain that Jesus promised we would come in contact with when we follow Him heart, soul, mind, and strength.  During our reception, one of my best men (I had two) started a fight with me.  It was a buildup of his frustration concerning my "new found life" in Jesus, which meant no more "old life" living with him and my other friends.  Our wedding, which was filled with worship, scripture, and prayer, just turned frustration into anger.  I remember the hurt I felt.  It car...

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. - Luke 6:37 (NLT)

Christians get a bad name and are often considered hypocritical or judgmental. Some of us are judgmental, and I would say all of us have been hypocrites at some point in our life. It’s easy for us to tell people how to handle a situation they are going through when we aren’t the one going through it. When we are experiencing the same situation in our own life, we can’t live out our own advice that we have given to others. We are quick to judge and talk about each other but don’t want people talking about us. Our words don’t always match our actions and then we want God to forgive us. I’m so thankful we serve a merciful God. The Bible makes it clear that if we don’t judge we will not be judged....

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, you're heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

- NIV  Matthew 6:15

The greatest need of all people is forgiveness.  Every person knows what it is like to lie, steal, hate, lust, be jealous, desire evil towards others, and the list goes on.  When we are the guilty party, we are quick to ask for mercy and understanding.  “I didn’t mean it” (when we know we did).  “It was a mistake” (when we planned it beforehand).  And when someone commits one of the above mentioned mistakes (sins) against us, we are quick to condemn.  When Jesus taught on prayer in the previous verses, he mentions an important principle two times.  The second time He mentions it (v. 15), it seems like it doesn’t belong.  I believe Jesus is pointing out an...

Monday, February 22, 2016

"But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness." - 1 John 1:9  NLT

Confessing or admitting you’re wrong is a step we all must take to receive forgiveness. Sometimes that can be hard when you’re living in sin. It can be hard to understand how you ended up in such a deep hole and feel like you are living so far away from God. When one sin turns into a life of sin, it can seem like we aren’t sinning at all, because when you get that far, the thought of living for Jesus Christ is the last thing on your mind. Then you hit rock bottom or something happens, and God, the one who you thought was so far away, never left your side. He is calling all of us and He is saying, “I love you and I want to forgive you.” Just like that, all of the sin and wickedness that we were living in can be taken...

Friday, February 19, 2016

 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of  life that The Lord has promised to those who love him. - NIV  James 1:12. 

Blessings, promises, crowns, love, life...this verse in the bible has them all.  These alone make one think a life of pursuing God is always easy, trouble free and rewarding.  Although this is true, it doesn't happen without a price.  The verse also mentions trials, tests, and persevering.  As we go about our day to day life, we will experience both the good (blessings, promises) and the not so good (trials and tests). All of this is part of life, living in a natural world.   Verses like these are a reality check and give hope.  A promise is something we can count on, look forward to.  When difficulties arise or our plans don't work out favorably , we must not give u...

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

 Trouble chases sinners, while blessings reward the righteous. - NLT Proverbs 13:21

In college, I had a work-study position as a theater manager.  For many of you who know me, that seems odd - it was the only position left.  Over time, that work-study position was completed, but I still continued to receive checks.  I wasn’t working, and I was getting paid.  A part of me thought, “this is great!”  But there was another part of me that was overwhelmed with guilt, and it haunted me.  So for two months, I continued to get paid, and I also continued to lose sleep, and would be overcome with guilt and fear, whenever I thought about what I was doing and the consequences.  It was like someone or something was after me, but I couldn’t see anyone.  What I was experiencing was my God-given conscious.  You know, that internal voice that let’s you know right from wrong....

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

 Obviously, I'm not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ's servant. - NLT  Galatians 1:10 

The world sends the message that we need everyone to look at us. We are taught that we need to be the center of attention. It’s all about who can be the biggest, baddest, and greatest life of the party. A "look at me" mentality that wants nothing more than to win the approval of people. Whether it’s pressure from the world or peer pressure, both give way to a sinful and prideful life. If your goal is to please people it’s time to change your goals. We serve a mighty and powerful God that is worthy of serving. In the midst of peer pressure it’s time to be a light for Christ and turn from the peer pressure to God. Our friends can have a great influence on us, but we can’t go to heaven by impressing them. T...

Monday, February 15, 2016

 “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” - NLT  13:20

This could be one of the most powerful truths for teenagers to consider.  When I was a teenager, my friends were a priority for me, and between school, sports, and weekends, most of my time was spent with them.  Like most, we dressed alike, listened to the same music, used the same sayings, and were like family.  Who we hang out with is ultimately who we become like.  Solomon, one of the wisest men in history, teaches something similar, but with a twist.  He says, that if you and I hang out with the wise (those who understand all of life’s decisions are connected, and who follow God's plan), we will become like them, wise.  We will measure our choices and actions based on the outcomes.  Then the twist comes - “associate with fools and get in trouble.”  We would na...

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We believe the only life worth living is the “uncommon” life that results from having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  We encourage our youth to experience this life through a daily time with Jesus,  worship, ministry, and prayer.

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